Thick plumes of smoke from the devastating wildfires in California are being blamed for poor air quality across large parts of the state, raising health concerns for millions of people. The Camp Fire, which has killed at least 79 people, continues burning in Butte County, north of Sacramento, while the Woolsey Fire has destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in the Malibu area.
This kind of air pollution is full of tiny particles that canranging from temporary breathing discomfort to the exacerbation of long-term medical issues like heart and .
As of Monday, more than 20 California cities were listed as having an air quality index of “unhealthy.” Residents have been advised to stay inside as much as possible and avoid exercising outdoors.
In the immediate aftermath, “We’re much more likely to see emergency room visits and hospital admissions go up, and we are also likely to see increases in the mortality in the population,” Dr. Michael Jerrett, the chair of environmental health sciences at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, told CBS News. “And then if it’s sustained over a long period of time, you know, months to years, you can begin to affect numerous major bodily systems that can lead to disease or premature death.”
Short-term, breathing in the smoke-filled air can lead to respiratory discomfort, and inhaling the tiny particulates in the air affects more than just the lungs.
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